Neil Lennon has made a thinly-veiled dig at the man who succeeded him as Celtic manager, Ronny Deila, suggesting the Norwegian failed to get the best out of too many members of the Parkhead squad.
Now in charge at Hibernian, Lennon said it was good to see the likes of Scott Brown flourish again under Brendan Rodgers.
The current Celtic manager hailed Brown in the wake of Celtic’s 5-2 triumph over Hapeol Beer-Sheva at Parkhead on Wednesday night and insisted his captain could easily hack it in the English Premier League.
It was the Scotland midfielder who weighed in with the fifth goal to give Celtic the cushion as they head to Israel for the second leg, with a place in the Champions League group stages at stake.
But if his current manager is proving a fan, his former boss said he has always known that Brown is a top player and said it was good to see Rodgers getting the best out of him, along with a few others.
“It was a good finish. I was really pleased for him,” Lennon said of Brown’s European goal. “Look, these players, Scott Brown, James Forrest, who else, the likes of [Kris] Commons and [Charlie] Mulgrew who didn’t figure [under the previous management team], they’ve had a lot of criticism over the last two years.
“They’re not bad players. And what Brendan has done is just tapped into them again. He looks like he’s getting the best out of them again. For a long time, they were getting a lot of criticism from Celtic supporters. Which I don’t think was down to the players.”
Asked who was responsible, he said: “Well, who do you think? One day I will talk about it. But I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to work it out.”
Former Liverpool boss Rodgers raved about Brown’s dominant contribution as Celtic edged to the brink of the Champions League group stages, overcoming a scare when the Israelis, who had been 3-0 down, pulled two back, to end the game as convincingly as they had started it.
He said that, having worked in England, he had no doubt that the Scotland captain had the ability to play at that level. Speaking straight after the match, he said: “I thought he was outstanding with the ball. His goal driving forward was a wonderful finish and he almost scored early on in the game.”